PPP ups pressure for Surujbally’s ouster

Supporters of the PPP during the protest outside GECOM's office

By Derwayne Wills

CONTINUING its pressure campaign for the removal of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Dr Steve Surujbally, members of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), including its General Secretary Clement Rohee, staged a protest outside the GECOM headquarters on Tuesday.

General Secretary of the PPP, Clement Rohee, leading the protest
General Secretary of the PPP, Clement Rohee, leading the protest

“This is an ongoing campaign that we have mounted,” Rohee told this newspaper outside GECOM’s Kingston headquarters. “This is part of our demands for electoral reforms which we are pressing to happen; and we are positive that, come next elections, these reforms will be implemented.”

After being voted out of office by the APNU+AFC coalition, the PPP had called for a number of electoral reforms, including a new house-to-house registration and an electronic registration process.

Following its defeat at the May 11, 2015 polls, the PPP filed an elections petition at the High Court. Efforts by GECOM officials to have the petition quashed were rejected by then Chief Justice Ian Chang, who maintained the Party was well within its right to access additional information from GECOM by way of the Validity of Elections Act.

The now-parliamentary Opposition PPP is calling for a recount of votes cast in the May 11 polls.

“We have no confidence in (Dr) Surujbally,” Rohee said, as party activists shouted in the background for the resignation of the GECOM chairman. He continued, “The machinery is also one that is quite questionable, and we will continue (protesting) until our demands are met.”

Asked about the latest progress with the elections petition, Rohee said there was no progress to report, as the matter remains pending. “This is not a campaign that is seasonal; this is not a campaign that is aimed at encompassing a one-off objective; this is a campaign that is aimed at achieving a long-term directive,” he declared.

The PPP General Secretary said his Party will continue to apply pressure on Guyana’s elections-monitoring agency through protests, petitions, and international pressure. “Half of the population is now on our side, and it’s only a question of having others come over to us…we are very optimistic that it will happen,” Rohee said.